Every time we hear someone has been pushed on to the tracks at a station or has been run over by a train, the issue of platform screen doors (PSDs) comes up. These PSDs would prevent someone from falling on to the tracks - either accidentally, or on purpose.
The MTA has been resistant to considering them, primarily because of the immense cost of retrofitting the systems to all 468 stations in the system.
In fact, they weren't being considered for the new stations being built as part of the 7 line extension or the 2d Avenue subway. For those stations, it was estimated that the platform screen doors would add about $1.5 million per platform side.
Up to now, the MTA has resisted the idea of PSDs, but after two homicides in the past week involving people being thrown on to the tracks, the idea is being revisited.
I think it's an issue worth revisiting.
Not only can these doors prevent the senseless deaths due to being shoved on to the tracks, but they can also improve subway efficiency by reducing the amount of trash that collects on the tracks - reducing the chances for track fires, vermin that are attracted to trash, and can improve the air quality on underground platforms.
But that all runs headlong into cost.
It would likely cost $2 billion or more to retrofit the entire system.
That's money the MTA doesn't have and can't even begin to address because of the need to complete repairs due to Hurricane Sandy.
But it is something that should be considered for high volume stations, and stations as they are renovated and rebuilt.
Labels: budget, infrastructure, MTA, rail safety, subways and tunnels